Ode to the Boot Scraper on the Stoop and Other Poems

Ode to the Boot Scraper
on the Stoop

Old hoe blade, probably, its broken
Handle too short to salvage, the man
Who broke it too poor not to put it
To some use, and so sank it in cement.
The mud it scraped off his boot soles
He rests in now, the shoes he was buried in
Fallen away from one another like sleeping
Husband and wife. Only this edge
Abides, thin as the division between
He and I, inhabitants of the same
House, toilers in the same garden.
It scrapes the clay off my boot soles now,
Granting me permission to sit
On the porch without taking them off,
And so protects against quitting early.
Encourages sobriety. Keeps mopping
To a minimum. Both of us rest,
He forever, me until I am ready
To get at it again, blisters bubbling up
Along the handle of the new hoe
That wants an ode of its own
But hasn’t earned one yet.


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